Can tadpole trikes really fly? No, I don’t mean like what you see in the picture above. I am talking about flying aboard a commercial passenger airliner. And I am talking about flying for free. The answer to that question is a definite maybe.
Note – Please keep in mind that I am no expert on this subject and most of what I am about to say is simply my thoughts and opinion. You need to check into this to find out for sure how all this works if you have in mind to take your trike with you as a mobility assistive device.
I think it is up to the airline as to whether they will accept a trike as a “MOBILITY ASSISTIVE DEVICE”. By that I mean whether or not they are convinced that a person truly needs and uses a trike for mobility out of necessity so that it qualifies. If they will then you are “in like Flint”. I Googled this subject, but didn’t find much about it. For some of us our trikes truly qualify, but for others we would be less than honest if we try to use this approach to get free transportation for our trikes. It comes down to our honesty and integrity. We will all stand before the judgement seat of Jesus Christ and give an account for everything in our lives.
Keep in mind that the airlines mostly deal with wheelchairs and power scooters. Their informative webpages and written articles are not geared for tadpole trikes so trike owners must pursue this on their own and work it all out. That being said, the following airlines have written about mobility assistive devices:
AIR CANADA AIRLINES ALASKA AIRLINES
AMERICA AIRLINES DELTA AIRLINES HAWAIIAN AIRLINES
SOUTHWEST AIRLINES UNITED AIRLINES
There may be more and probably are, but I didn’t readily find anything more to list here.
The following is found on Hawaiian Airlines’s website:
“What’s an Assistive Device?
Assistive devices are:
Any piece of equipment that helps a passenger with a disability to cope with the effects of the disability. Assistive devices help people hear, see, communicate, maneuver, or perform other functions of daily life, and may include medical devices and medication, wheelchairs, motorized scooters, walkers, crutches, Segways, canes, braces, portable toilets, and other devices, equipment or items that help people with disabilities.“
I would think if Segways qualify a tadpole trike certainly ought to. 🙂
HERE is a general article on the subject. Like I said, I can’t find much available about this subject. My guess is (and it is only a guess … I could be wrong) some airlines might be more accommodating (easily persuaded) than others. That being said they are all under the same regulations and requirements. HERE is the FFA Guidance.
Stowage of Wheelchairs, Other Mobility Aids, and Other Assistive Devices
U S Dept. of Transportation – Disabilities
Definitely whether a tadpole trike is flying for free or being paid extra for the trike needs to be properly prepared for the trip to ensure it is protected and arrives unscathed and intact. Some components should be disassembled and removed and the trike should be wrapped in some sort of protective material. Parts that stick out extra far such as the boom and crankset, neck rest, etc. are best removed and wrapped up individually. They can be attached securely to the trike so long as they are not protruding out and vulnerable to getting damaged or snagging on something. The chain should be removed. Again, it can be attached to the trike. It should be in some sort of container to keep any oil/dirt from getting onto anything else. Lights may need to be removed as they may be vulnerable to damage.
Wet cell or Lithium-ion batteries are an additional concern and must be addressed to be in compliance with safety requirements of airlines. At the very least the airlines need to be informed of such batteries and their location. It is best to avoid taking such batteries aboard an aircraft.
Traveling with a tadpole trike will require arriving at the airport earlier than normal in order for them to process and load your trike on board the plane so it is important to communicate with the airline to know what they require concerning this.
Note – A reader of this blog commented after this article was posted that it is very easy to have the airline accept a tadpole trike as a Mobility Assistive Device as they are not allowed to question the owner about the nature of their disability. He also said that the trike is loaded onto the plane with little to no disassembly.
Note from me about the note above – I personally would be very concerned about handing my trike over “as is” to be loaded onto an airplane. I would be concerned about mirrors being snapped off and lights being broken or broken off and missing. And I would be concerned about other damage happening if other items are in contact with the trike during the time it is in the plane.
So, yes … tadpole trikes can really fly … and it would indeed be great to have your trike with you if you are able to ride it where you are heading to. We all want to …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
A FREE GIFT awaits you!